UNITED NATIONS/VIENNA: The UN Security Council on Friday demanded a full, independent investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice if it is proven that MH17 was shot down in east Ukraine.
“If evidence shows the plane was shot down, then we demand the responsible party to be brought to face justice,” he said. Monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were not able to secure an access corridor to the crash site on Friday, according to the OSCE chairman.
“They were not able to help secure this corridor that would allow access for those that would want to investigate. The crash site is not sealed off,” said Thomas Greminger, Switzerland’s ambassador to OSCE. An emergency session of the United Nations Security Council exposed the deep fault lines over the conflict in Ukraine. “This tragedy only underscores the urgency and determination with which we insist that Russia immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine,” US Ambassador Samantha Power said.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin ignored Western complaints and accused Ukrainian authorities of negligence in allowing flights over eastern Ukraine. “Today Kiev declared a full closure of the airspace. Why couldn’t this have been done earlier?” he said.
Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev meanwhile reiterated Kiev’s position that the jet was shot down by terrorists, an act he said could only have been done by an SA-11 or similar missile system.
Safety first, says IATA chief
Reacting to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, head of International Air Transport Association (Iata) Tony Tyler said: “No airline will risk the safety of their passengers, crew and aircraft for the sake of fuel savings.”
“Airlines depend on governments and air traffic control authorities to advise which air space is available for flight,” he added, amid questions as to why airliners had routinely opted to overfly a known conflict zone. But ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said the UN agency ‘does not establish routes’ for airlines to follow.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.